Monthly Archives: March 2013

Books Acquired Recently

Everett, Percival. Percival Everett by Virgil Russell. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2013.

I’ve only read one of Everett’s previous novels, Erasure, and loved it. I decided that acquiring his latest book would be a good way to begin reading the rest of his corpus. I am especially excited about its metafictional elements–any novel with a character named after the author is alright with me.

Bought on amazon.com.

Walker, Alice. Meridian. 1976. Orlando: Harcourt, 2003.

I received a desk copy of this book in the mail today. It’s one of the novels that I’m assigning in my African American Literature After 1960 course this May. I wrote a dissertation chapter on it, but have never taught it before. It’s an excellent fictionalization of the tension between the Civil Rights and Black Power strands of the 1960s black liberation movement.

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Book Acquired Recently: Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues

Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues. 1993. Los Angeles: Alyson, 2003.

I’ve been meaning to read this queer classic for a while, and recently was on amazon.com buying something else, and decided to finally buy Feinberg’s novel to help me get to the $25.00 free shipping threshold. To my horror I discovered that the book is currently out of print! I was able to buy a used copy for $20.00, which seems high, but since it is both out of print and important it may become rare quite quickly, so I felt it was worth it.

The reason this important book is out of print is that its publisher, Alyson Books, went out of business a few years ago. This is yet another example of the publishing industry’s troubles–it is more and more difficult for independent publishers to stay alive. Alyson was an important publisher of LGBT works that are now in limbo. One hopes that some other publisher will recognize their value and buy the rights. In the case of Stone Butch Blues, it still gets written about, and remained on syllabi while it was in print, so it would be a good investment for another company to make.

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Ode to Mennonot

Mennonot, a zine “For Mennos [i.e., Mennonites] on the Margins,” published thirteen issues between 1993 and 2003 (though issue 12 appeared in 1999 and issue 13 did not appear until four years later). Happily, the full set has just been put online for free here. Mennonot included commentary on the state of institutional Mennonitism, interviews, reader rants, humor, and poetry by important Mennonite writers such as Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Jeff Gundy, and Patrick Friesen. It provided an important safe space for people who were raised Mennonite, but had questions about the tradition to air their “heretical” thoughts and encounter ideas from others going through a similar struggle. Retrospectively, I think that its most important contribution was its early (by Mennonite standards), unwavering advocacy for LGBT rights both in the Church and in broader society. There are numerous articles and letters from LGBT persons throughout Mennonot‘s run, beginning with the first issue.

I first encountered Mennonot towards the end of college, reading the last three issues, but I haven’t thought about it much since then. It feels good to get reacquainted! I’ve been reading through it for the past week or so, which has been enjoyable. It is fascinating to see what issues were important to “Mennonots” (a label which currently describes me) twenty years ago. Sadly, the institutional Mennonite Church is still nearly as oppressive of women and LGBT persons now as it was then.

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Books Acquired Recently

Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume A: Beginnings to 1820. 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2012.

—. The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume B: 1820-1865. 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2012.

I requested these two exam copies from the publisher because I will be teaching an early American literature class in the fall. I generally dislike teaching with anthologies, but they are helpful reference tools when planning a course because they provide a ready-made list of the authors to consider including in a syllabus.

Cervantes, Lorna Dee. Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems. San Antonio: Wings, 2011.

I received a review copy of this collection from the Rocky Mountain Review (the journal of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association), for whom I will be writing a review. I’ve only read a few of Cervantes’s poems before, so I look forward to becoming more familiar with her work. The concept of the book sounds interesting, and it is printed in dark brown ink instead of black ink, so it is a fascinating object that I will be happy to have in my library even if I end up not liking it.

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher. The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life: Essays and Poems. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 2009.

I acquired this and Kauffman’s book from amazon.com as part of my research for an essay on Mennonite literature that I am currently working on. I have the 2001 Johns Hopkins first edition of The Body and the Book, which I read and loved as soon as it was published, but the 2009 edition has a new preface that I wanted to read, and I was able to find a used copy for only a few dollars, so I bought it instead of finding it in a library. As regular readers of this blog know, I am always happy for any excuse to buy a book!

Kauffman, Janet. Places in the World a Woman Could Walk. 1983. Saint Paul: Graywolf, 1996.

I enjoy Kauffman’s work, and read this book back in college, but do not remember it well. This is the only book of her fiction that I don’t already own (she has also published two collections of poetry), and I found a used, signed (!) copy at a very affordable price.

Rowell, Charles Henry, ed. Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. New York: Norton, 2013.

This is another exam copy from the publisher. I will be assigning it for my May Term African American Literature After 1960 class. I do find poetry anthologies useful, and am rather excited about this one because it is reasonably priced and has a strong selection of poets (though it omits Essex Hemphill, which is unexcusable).

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Manchester United’s 2013/2014 Change Strip

The design for Manchester United’s 2013/2014 change strip has been leaked, and you can view it here. I love United, but I must say that this is an ugly, ugly shirt. The blue is fine, as this has been a traditional color for United change strips and they wore it against Benfica at Wembley when they won their first European Cup in 1968, but the lumberjack flannel shirt pattern is atrocious. The black also clashes with the blue because they are both darker colors–almost any other color (yellow might be decent) would be better than the black even though black is the club’s secondary color. I would much prefer a simple blue shirt with the same design as their primary red ones. It would also be neat to have a green and yellow change strip as an homage to the club’s original colors. They used this color scheme one year in the mid-1990s and I have thought about purchasing one of these shirts used, but the design is marred by the ’90s garishness that was all too common in the footballing world.

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